Opposing sides rally outside same-sex marriage hearings
OLYMPIA, WA - 3/8/05 - Thousands from around the state stood outside
the state Capitol Tuesday as they sang and prayed to preserve the
standard of "one man, one woman" as the state's highest
court heard oral arguments on whether Washington’s ban on same-sex
marriages is unconstitutional.
On the stage, a group of pastors, legislators and others urged the crowd to stand up for traditional marriage. They called on the court’s nine justices to respect Washington’s voters, whose representatives passed the state’s Defense of Marriage Act in 1998, which defined legal marriage as between a man and a woman.
Throngs also lined Capitol Way, waving signs at passing drivers.
They called on the court’s nine justices to respect Washington’s voters, whose representatives passed the state's Defense of Marriage Act in 1998, which defined legal marriage as between a man and a woman. They warned that doing otherwise might further erode the
Organizers of the "Mayday for Marriage" rally and officials from the State Patrol said it was one of the larger crowds to gather in recent years on the Capitol Campus, with the largest being a teachers' rally two years ago that drew 30,000.
“It's a historic moment that we’re standing in,” said Pam Kirchhofer, of Olympia, who has four children and two grandchildren, and stood in the grass with a friend. "The reason why all these people came isn’t because of anger, it's because of love."
As the rally dispersed outside and the Washington State Supreme Court began hearing testimony on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, a group of about 100 people at a church across the street from the Capitol listened to live audio of the hearing, hoping the oral argument will convince the court to rule in favor of same-sex union.
Though they were largely outnumbered at the Capitol by about 5,000 protesters in opposition to gay marriage, their optimism didn’t fade. Olympia resident Terry Waldron said after the hearing that she doesn’t know how the court will rule on the case, which was filed on behalf of 11 gay and lesbian couples seeking to be married in Washington State. But she is confident that change will come to the state’s definition of marriage.
"It just seems like it’s a matter of time before we have equal rights," said Waldron, who is in a lesbian relationship. "I just hope it’s sooner instead of later."
The mother of two was in a heterosexual marriage prior to discovering her sexuality, and said she now realizes that married people have securities that civil unions do not afford.
The power to make medical decisions for their partner, the ability
to collect life insurance and eligibility for tax incentives were
all issues gay and lesbian couples cited as disparities between marriages
and civil unions.
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